ideas of ideas of drawings, with s. barber

stephanie barber has been writing one beautiful haiku per day since the new year, and i am going to illustrate them. here are my ideas of illustrations for each haiku (haiku in italics).

looser than Lincoln

more wishful than washington
john quincy adams

probably wooden teeth
represented by eyes and knots
large hands and diminutive fruits

they obtained two kids
and changed them into egrets
it was surprising

this one would be whimsical and illustrative
think shel silverstein meets audubon
with the same amount of endearing inaccuracy

look at the camera
now tilt your head to the left
act like you’re crying

I wish there was a way to draw an animated gif
once I had this idea to film women thinking about fear
I would be okay with this one being portraiture

some will be thankful
for real estate; pipes, pools, decks
some for sandless pants

I know it’s a stretch, GET IT?! but what about
a swinging lump of sand in the crotch of your bathingsuit?
a closeup would just look like curtains
perhaps with some summer overtop

i will have coffee
and salad and a small soup
and seltzer water

I feel confident in my cup-drawing ability
would it be alright if I included creamer containers?
I might omit in favor of lettuce, due to its
this one is hard because it’s presumptuous,
to assume your portion size

sometimes a punchline
is purposely elusive
or purposefully?

this one might just be rodney Dangerfield

happy panty day
that is what alyssa said
she wrote haiku too

giant underwear
like the pair over wyman park
by bob and theresa
a couple of years ago

in the new Yorker
a European beret
costs fourteen dollars

illustrations of illustrations,
now we’re talking

“my hvac guys said
he felt the line could be stressed”
“yea, i can see that”

either guys at the coffee shop
or the bottom half of a man
under the sink, although this is about

it is difficult
learning that yul brynner is not
telly savalas

who are these guys again?
I’ll have to look them up
I think one is a conductor but
I don’t want to do the whole string section

some will be stupid
with their whole stupid faces
and their stupid hands

a more PC version of intellectually disabled
or clumsy hands with legos

all the biggest men
are pointing their fingers up
and see? a balloon

I will try to avoid strict illustration,
but for this one mylar stuck in a tree would be good

willa cather, wow
my antonia’s real good
nebraska is whole

maybe illustration is actually okay
honesty betrays my fear of the direct
and it would be more in line with the poems
flatness, and corn

not airline pilots
not the wives of fishermen
not a small petal

either a circle with a line through it
or wives of cranberry boggers
a mid-sized stem
pilots of sport aircraft

are sensing sonic spaces
the bluest hearings

imaginary creatures using
glow-in-the-dark pen
gel rollers, I think they’re called

the supposition
of moon, flower or sand storm
was proved incorrect

nice job using ‘supposition’
perhaps phases; perhaps the sense of blindness

because today rains
it isn’t a yesterday

oh yeah, my part. I forgot.

through piles of garbage
broken bricks and rat corpses
a strawberry plant

crops. so as to have that distance
but also the sentiment. on second thought,
let it be directive instead of making it my project.

a record player
on the nineteenth of july
hope is divergent

joni mitchell’s ‘blue’ and a moleskine planner
70’s shellacked plaque that says, ‘hang in there’
with a picture of a lion in a tree

a cloud bath is like
not the mists of russian wars
but rabbits’ small hutch

oh goodie, bun-bun.
but dwarf or german giant?
note that I ignore military history
in favor of fast rodent noses

he got me a cat
from mcdonalds, a weird one
it disappeared soon

obviously, a visor
and something emaciated
more memory than cat

shit gave a raw deal
ain’t hillside or damp hollow
just damn actual

a hobo; the new boxcar culture
a campfire of elected poverty
intentional B.O. but well-intentioned
would a turd be too literal?

gin, blue lu barker
rusticated anomie
thomas aquinas

ugh, you don’t want to know about this one. so pathetic.

driftwood is speaking
giving clues and instructions
right there—deer arrow
contour; more knots but lighter this time
buoyed bait and bobbers
but no boat

no, ghosts don’t exist
exist is fraught with worry
ghosts don’t worry

an empty room
but with a feeling attached

lockstep is marching
but needn’t be signature
like careening ships

I respond with clarinets
I hear ‘ligature’
again with melancholy oceanic

that daisy leans in
like to listen to the grass
it is empathetic

a drawing of Calvin from memory
you should have read the accuracy of his childhood astrology
not that Calvin—the one who spits baby carrots

the job is to fight
to avoid any dwelling
it is not well paid

boxing gloves? too much?

they fight most mornings
ask for alms, salves and tokens
then hope like dog paws

oh, that kind of fighting
and those kids of tokens
well then back to Calvin, a system of stickers
and a numberless clock
when the red is all gone, good job

perfume is licking
like lion fur through sharp fangs
the stone fleur de lis

the girl in the back who always eats her hair
I think she’s into quilting now
we’d say, “Do the wild thing, Cheryl”
yeah, I think I’ll go with that

the rose and tulip
like dolly p. and Jolene
blinking in sunlight

a caricature, overly Western
if you go all the way it’s academic

the shore does not doubt
the ocean waves will return
again and again

but what about in a tsunami?
anyway, either Hawaiian or
the beach with a smiley face

a snake in hair chaps
is not a fox or birdsong
does not bring the mail

oh, but would that it were so
I typed ‘fax’ instead of ‘fox’
but it will be the latter hopping down
the front steps, bill in hand
I mean paw

not for my pen pal
these new telegrams and texts
he’s hand, tears, and smudge

everyone knows
I will leave it blank for you
to complete

why is the slug nude
with its molluscian kin
shod so in spirals?

diagram of kingdom animalia
“trilobite,” I said, and was corrected
by the boy with the dog figurines
all turned toward me

a slug will be fun

take each sheet and fold
edges back toward center
fold in half and glue

origami without a ruler
and at the bottom, peeling fingerprints
for the first time
I think they’ll all be black-and-white except the curtain one

snow impersonates
a cat headed ace frehley
but so quietly

ohhh, now I get it
I thought you meant a cat going toward ace frehley
who, for those who don’t know, was the guitarist for Kiss
the original one

but you meant the snow, which is actually much more fun in retrospect at least

rayleigh scattering
absorbing spheres scaterring
dialectric spheres

I almost want to leave this one alone
leave its quiet stop-in-tracks
stomping tracks

the bee discusses
optics of moving bodies
wavelength in vacuum

thoughtful bee
shaking its bee-head, going
(click-click-click with disappointment)

the bear is praying
to the stoplight on elm street
with leaves in his hair

were you in my neighborhood?
man in bear costume or just bear,
depending on the costume

noooooooooooooooooo don’t force the wolves
they’ll show up at malls and fight
buddhist fur and fang

again with the animals
I don’t mind
wolves, especially, and maybe Game Stop

he telephoned a
ruby throated hummingbird
the ring a nectar

hummingbirds I’m good at
imagine an iPhone or if we’re going anthropological,
the old kind.
or a switchboard.

oh expectation
cast not thine insistent eyes
towards mine own visage

you, with your hand up against your forehead
in a jumpsuit

musical flowers
like peonies and blue bells
smell sounds in ether

again with the flowers
I don’t mind
my dad is a master gardener
how can I draw synaesthesia?

cuz she saw a fox
at their new house, they’ll have luck
for love days like these

again with the fox
I don’t mind
but lower to the ground this time

asimina is greek
statuary and ape-like
in green plastic shoes

this one would require the addition of color
unless I included other things that the reader knows
to be green

the afternoon’s rain
was like a clock you could watch
and set a date by

pocketwatch with water droplets over the face

the memorial
blade of grass with cricket bent
low to sit upon

either a bent cricket or a bent blade of grass
back to the addition of color

is that the sound of
heracles blowing bubbles
in the agora?

people assume I know about the greeks
an agora I could do, though

a break is a rest or
irreparable; distant
product of brittle

Seinfeld would be insulting

that sliver of moon
is a thrushes’ warbling song
all silvery highs

my new alarm clock
or a night-bird, but we know better

on the hunt face-dogs
take a broad, campy approach
to the whole “kill” trope

again, with the dogs
I don’t mind
this time a bloodhound with

this aubade, off key
and unsure of today’s charms
be writ nonetheless

you struggling to get out of bed
like the cover of amelia gray’s book
but the eyes open instead of closed
I had to look up ‘aubade’ but now it makes
even more sense

sam cooke braids my hair
all monkey ash and golden
and supercharged tail

obviously, Sam Cooke and a braid
of white-person hair

flops the pet gerbil
versus ninety five percent
cosmic dark matter

this one could be the title, you know
a gerbil in space

nineteen eighty tow
ford ltd full of paws
throwing wolf gang signs

muscle car with dirty pawed-up windows

lethargica or small cuts
in off-white paper

paper snowflakes if that’s not too window-display

how the greenest was
given a right or chance to

again with the addition of color
this time a botanic diagram
the reader infers and feels haughty

gold damask curtains
a handful of glue sniffers
and five jack russells

ahh, my favorite. it already goes:
gold damask curtains
a handful of glue sniffers
and five jack russells

she was real down and
got breast cancer of the eye
on top of all that

is it wrong to laugh?
a woman shrugs at her misfortune
her eye is falling out along with her breast

your mouths shooting spit
and cartoon radio waves
slapping my ear’s ass

is it wrong to laugh, again?
an ear with a butt

televisions in
bars clearly show cops sometimes

a cop with a beer belly
and billyclub

photographs of cats
doilies in love seat arm rests
tv dinner trays

the horror of a retirement community
him crying in the hallway

I miss willistown
where hotdogs hold sing-a-longs
clasp bun hands and sway


above pom pom trees
and west Virginian accents
the causal highway

abandoned coal shaft

emily ruete
princess sayyide salme
and german hausfrau

I don’t know these people.
a screen shot of wikipedia.

that is a pushpin
poking the song of their hearts
everyone is glad

Baptist hand-wringing

kids are off to school
with their dejected knapsacks
and small bags of chips

replacement insulating lunch bags

no one expected
this early in the season
these six crocuses

crocus tips
lewd and anticipatory
look, I changed your all’s idea of spring

they suck alley cat
venom out of disordered
sidewalk couch totem

two men pulling a toppled couch upright
but just at the point of grabbing

jiminy cricket
those damn ice skates won’t help none
not with this spring rain

ice skates in slush
but still on feet from
the knees down only

snake institutions
with their dense, inscrutable
morning rituals

cobra in a basket
although I’m sure that’s not what you meant, sorry

atrocities like
decrease not meaning to smooth
but reduce, abound

reference to ballard
and other books to be returned to their
rightful owners

oh helicopter
shoot thy paranoid beam of
love and search on me

search ‘copter
we should talk about the color thing
because I’m thinking of your blue lights
and other urban atrocities
want to gentrify them with pale hue

oh dear gentle wood
carver, is that lovely witch
you have whittled white?

your friend, that new york filmmaker I met,
in overalls, although he’s probably not a carver,
but maybe

she’s got issues
like the water for instance
or robes and texture

a britta, a bathrobe, terrycloth or dishrag

whistles, dog barks, “HEY”
band saw, drug deals, radio
laughter and sirens

you pulling weeds with large over-the-ear headphones
or just a stoop

bender, it’s not great
poet who must wear the cape
and tights, but super

me in a red cape and tights over wrinkled undies

replace “distant” in
marvin gaye’s “distant lover”
for the word “kitty”

marvin gaye portrait with cat head; reference to previous ace frehley page

the comedian
like the boxer, so lonely
so lonely with light

reference Rodney Dangerfield page

with nary a hitch
the leap was accomplished
and freedom attained

cornell university’s gorges

I voted for the
doctor because he makes such
very good short films

private practice office
stethoscope reflecting reels

super symmetry
sparks envy with its boson
and fermion twins

one of those victorian drawings that requires a silver sphere
the drawing is of me and so also of my sister
when reflected, missing a dimple

i heard that traffic jams
hired a new PR firm
looking for some love

michael douglas in that movie where he loses it on the highway
a diet of only flowers

he told the woods that
bird orchestration was for
it alone. god lies.

god shrugging, going, “mm-mm-mm (I don’t know)”
his robes full of birds

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